Baby John part 2
If you missed part one it can be found here: Part one
The moments after our sweet boy was born were both hard and oh so sweet. Our boy was so perfect. Jerry and I were able to spend some time with our boy, just us, admiring how perfectly the Lord made him. He was so big and so strong… his hands and feet were big and just perfect. I will never forget just how perfect he was or the peace that I felt. I don’t know who was praying for peace for me, but thank you. There is no way to describe the peace I felt on what was one of the hardest days of my life. Our family was able to then come back and spend some time holding and loving on him and I think that was such a beautiful time. Not only did we lose a son but they lost a grandson and a nephew. I think in those moments I hurt more for them than I did myself. Thankfully our midwives arranged for a photographer to come and we have the most precious pictures of our boy. His hands, his feet, his ears... she truly got every detail. And we gained a precious friend. As a side note, I believe that the devil knew the importance and significance of that little boy’s life. He knew that that little life represented so much grace and so much love and hope and he tried to take that all away from us… tried. He took a lot not only from Jerry and I, but also our family. But I’m here to tell you that as big and nasty as the devil is, my God is bigger. He will continue to show us His grace throughout this loss and I believe that one day we will see His purpose for this pain. He will redeem this.
That night we were able to keep our sweet boy in the room with us. To some that might be morbid or sad, but that was such precious time for us to spend as a little family. We knew our boy was in Heaven, but we wanted to love on his little perfect body as long as we could. It was good for us.The nurses had molds made of his hands and his feet, and of course he made things difficult requiring 2 recipes just to make those big ole feet. That night we also got to give him his first and only bath…. Something I pictured doing so often with him. As I sat watching my husband and our favorite nurse get him all fresh and clean I was amazed at the love and tenderness that they showed my boy. I’ve told yall we had the best nurses. Funny story… they have sweet little outfits there in the hospital that they give mommas that have lost their babies but that wasn’t good enough for our boy… he didn’t fit in a single one of them LOL! They wrapped him up in a sleep sack and he looked so precious with a little white hat. So thankful for these memories.
Leaving the hospital the next day was hard. I knew from the moment we got there that I would be leaving without him but it just flat out felt wrong. Although I knew the nurse would keep him safe until the funeral home got there to pick him up I felt like I wasn’t doing my job. I was supposed to keep him safe… I was his mom… What I realized in that moment is that I would never have to worry about his safety… The Lord told me very clearly as they wheeled me out of those doors “I’ve got him momma”. The Lord knew I needed that… to know he was safe for eternity. That is the only way I made it out of there. The drive home held many tears… the car seat was empty and so was I. All I wanted was my baby…. If I’m completely honest that’s all I still want.
We made it home around dinner time that night and for the next couple of days I stayed in the
bed most of the day. I lost quite a bit of blood and I think everyone was concerned about complications right away so I did my best to take it easy. The next day, my mom and Jerry met with the funeral home to make the arrangements. I’ll just say it was very hard and confusing to go from planning a nursery to planning a funeral. From my bed I talked on facetime with my husband and we tried to plan the best we could a celebration of our boy’s life. Not being there was so hard…. I felt almost as if I was letting my boy down by not being there, but I had no choice. For 4 hours my man sat in a funeral home and picked out flowers, a casket, times etc. Ironically, my grandfather had an extra plot at a beautiful cemetery in Fort Worth and allowed us to use it for our boy. I told yall, God was evident and continued to show us that He knew and prepared for this day.
We chose to put a few stuffed animals on the top of his casket so that we would have something to give our future babies from their big brother.
The next day, Friday, we were able to go up to the funeral home and see our boy. We had decided to get him embalmed so that we would be able to hold him one last time, but received a phone call that afternoon that it didn’t take well so we wouldn’t be able to move him. Heart wrenching to know that we wouldn’t be able to hold him like we thought… I will never forget Jerry coming into the bedroom and telling me the news… As we walked up to the room that our boy was in I felt as if I might literally not be able to breath. I can’t remember what the sweet lady was trying to tell us as she took us down the hall but as we got to the door she just stopped talking. I’m sure she saw my eyes full of tears and that my husband was just about dragging me down the hall. It was so hard to walk into that building let alone the door with my son’s name on it. As we spent some time with family that night we just thanked the Lord for allowing us to be John’s parents and begged Him to hold him tight until we got there.
Saturday came too quickly. The day we had to bury our son… no one really prepares you for what that feels like. The day was cold, wet and overcast. We went to see our boy one last time before we only had pictures to remind us of what his earthly body looked like. Our sweet nieces and nephews colored pictures that we taped to the top of the casket and he was buried with a blanket that my sister monogrammed and a bible and rattle that his daddy bought him. We made our way out to the burial site and friends and family started to join us… our boy was so loved. I’m not sure how many people were there but I was so thankful to see so many faces of people that loved Him. Our midwives, the nurses from the hospital, friends from over an hour away, a friend that could have gone into labor any minute and so many family members. If I didn’t say it that day thank you for supporting us and loving our son.
As we stood there in the cold I saw my husband carry the casket to the tent… He later informed me that he did get to hold our boy one last time. Satan also lost that round. I sat and heard a dear friend and my former youth pastor speak sweet words of the goodness of God as we laid our boy to rest. I want to include some of the words that were spoken over us that day so that it might draw you closer to the Lord…
“Today we grieve over the loss of your child: whose eyes you never saw,
whose ears only knew sound from your womb, whose lips could not speak,
whose smile you could not see. But I want you to imagine this in your
minds. When John Gabriel opened his eyes for the first time, they saw the
glory of God. When his ears heard outside of the womb for the first time,
they heard angels rejoicing. When those lips opened for the first time, they
sang out in praise of God. The first person to ever see that little face smile was Jesus.”
As much as I longed for each of those things I wouldn’t have wanted anything different for my baby. He never had to experience suffering, sadness, sin or anything of this world. God created Him for a perfect purpose that I don’t believe we even know yet. I can’t tell if I’m more jealous of my son being in the presence of God or God being in the presence of my son…. And then it dawned on me- John Gabriel was His to begin with, I just got the honor of carrying him on this earth. This is what it’s all about…. All of this so that one day we too can be face to face with our creator. Although the days since have been challenging, I hope to share with you all the ways that Lord has blessed our suffering and all that He has taught us. He is such a good God… I encourage you to spend time with Him today not asking for anything but thanking Him for all that He has blessed you with.
Photo credit Deborah Glenn photography